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Walks, Thailand Tee Shirts N Grandmas Quilt

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day to you Friday, 3rd February 2006

After a shower and contemplating the wonders of the plastic curtain that stopped my clothes from getting wet we had to return to the laundry to find my black top they had forgotten to return to me. At first they just said in Chinese, sorry can't find it bad luck. After I demanded 40 Yuan they got Sarah from the Forest Cafe and after a phone call they found it. HHHhhhmmm! I thanked Sarah and we sat talking over a beautiful breakfast she cooked for us. During our chats and her cooking I found the South East Asian Lonely Planet and Phrase Book. Both 2004 editions. Soon they had been paid for and were in Judy's pack on their way to my pack. I know where I'll be during summer break!

The day was spent on bikes finding every nook and cranny we could find. Poor Judy was buggered (for the non Aussies...stuffed, tuckered out) after the first 30 minutes but was a good soldier and continued for the next few hours. We found a lot of dead end roads, happy store owners whom sold us cold drinks and my bike managed to get me home without me throwing it into the Mekong River. Just like the first bike I hired from the same shop, the chain kept slipping with every little bit of pressure put on the peddle. Now it's 7pm and I am finally up to date with all this jibber. We will head west most likely tomorrow after a chat with Uli to see what's actually over there. Even if there is nothing, we will have a good time as I'm sure there couldn't be another Gung Gung!

Saturday, 4th February 2006

Still in Jinghong. Didn't head west today as after chatting with Uli last night we found out we have actually been to all the main attractions. I've become too relaxed in Jinghong to head off and stay in a flea pit just to walk around another Chinese town full of white tiled buildings. After telling him I loved Mengla but didn't think much of Damenlong he laughed and said there are a lot of Damenlongs further west. I love my little Tianyang but to spend more time in Damenlong would drive me insane. There is a lot to do in Jinghong so I think I'll kick back here and lazily fill the daylight hours in walking and riding.

Today we spent a lazy day walking along the banks of the Mekong River. Judy came for a small walk between the cities two bridges. We stopped for an hour or so and played pool. The table had a nice curve on it and the cloth a couple of nice holes for the balls to settle in on their way to your chosen destination. It's all fun and games in China! We even had a sprinkle from the heavens above that lasted for about 5 minutes. Judy left to read the day away and I continued along the Mekong and out into the fields. It was a beautiful walk that took me past fields of tea, chillies, corn, tomatoes and familles loading trucks full of produce for the market place. The tracks end was at a stone quarry. I was hoping to reach the chair lift and head across and walk back along the other side. The 70 Yuan charge for the chair lift would have been a bit steep but hey, you can't take it with you...money that is, I guess you could get buried in a seat from the chair lift!

On the way back I stopped to help a family load boxes onto a truck. The son had a three wheeler bicycle with a tray on the back. It's the Chinese farmer's version of the Aussie Ute or 1 toner. They are everywhere. It also doubles as the family car. Throughout town you see an entire family on one of these things. Father is riding and mother and child are sitting proudly in the back tray offering huge smiles to all they pass. We have them in Tianyang but not so many. Some of them are so old; they must have been handed down through the generations. I then helped the son pull his bicycle loaded with boxes along the bumpy track to the next house where he left me with a huge friendly smile. It was so heavy and I'm sure he manages somehow to move this thing several times a day by himself.

I found myself walking through several villages. They were so sleepy and beautiful. The little track was lined with cactuses and vines that made me feel like I was walking through a tunnel. These were the house fences. Families were outside playing marjong. All over China when you walk at anytime of the day or night you can always here the clicking of the marjong tiles as they ready themselves for their one thousandth game that day. I'm serious; they will play all day and all night and still look fresh for the next game.

Soon I found I had circled around and made my way back towards the city. I found the Wall Walkway that follows the river out of the city. I thought it was just a short walk way so I took a stroll along it. I soon found that it actually runs along the entire city. It's like at one stage they wanted to build a train track but never laid the actual tracks. It is high and perfectly flat. Each section has a water run off. I sat with a heap of children and watched them as they slid down one of these. Each child had a different 'thing' to sit on. They had cane baskets to sit in, tiny wooden stools and cardboard. Their laughter was so natural and beautiful as they flew down the walls edge. It's a sound I now realise we miss in the western world. I remember it from when I was young. Everyone was outdoors playing and finding ways to amuse themselves. Things are different now, but I have written about this in an earlier entry so enough for now.

I continued walking along the wall and stopped every now and then to watch the farmers in the fields. The fields were all different colours, pattens and shapes, kind of like your grandmothers quilt. Finally I reached a point I recognised. It was the same section we rode through to do our best to find the raft with the Americans when we first arrived. By now I was starving and took the stairs and wound my way through the tiny back streets to find the Mekong Cafe. Today was Burrito day and I gorged myself.

After an hours worth of cards we got bored and took a stroll around Jinghong. I love little cities at night time. All the signs are lit up. I look at them and wonder what they all say. Some you can figure out by the shop it's connected to, others I have no idea as I have no idea what the shop is. Though I keep away from these areas usually but walking through the 'tourist' streets is so much fun. So much colour and people trying to get your money and business. Almost all of them are so well stocked in Thailand tee-shirts you would be forgiven if you actually thought the Xishuangbanna is actually part of Thailand. Maybe the Chinese government advertises it this way and the Chinese flock here so they can get a tee-shirt to prove they have been out of China. Every day you see hundreds of Chinese clad in these tee-shirts.

We found a street full of tables and chairs outside. Smokey bbq's and massage tables lined the footpaths. We stopped here and snacked on spicy meat sticks. I spent until the early hours at Mei Mei's Cafe sipping ginger and honey tea and a couple of beers whilst reading my South East Asia LP. No better time to get ready for your next holiday than whilst your still on your current one.

Bike Ride Slides N BBQ

Bike Ride Slides N BBQ


Bike Ride Slides N BBQ (1)

Bike Ride Slides N BBQ (1)


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Bike Ride Slides N BBQ (9)

Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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